January 28, 2016

Sunday Four Poetry, January 24

I’d missed these readings in the last few months of 2015 so was glad to be back in the early days of the new year. As always we began with the open mic, with the esteemed & venerable Dennis Sullivan as our pastoral host.

Although signed up as #2 I read as the 1st reader my bar poem “Joe the Bartender,” then a poem from 10 years ago, allegedly written by me & found by Pierre Joris on the way to my birthday celebration, so they say. Our host, Dennis Sullivan followed me with 3 poems, a poem for the poet Thomas Merton “The Visitation,” then one based on a poem by the Latin poet Horace “Beatus Ille,” & one dedicated to local poet Howard Kogan “The Exegesis of Emptiness.” Appropriately enough, Howard Kogan was the next reader with a childhood memoir about hanging out at the the local “pigeon store.” Joe Krausman gave us “The Key to Life” which was based on Freud’s description of love & work, then read “Legitimate Theater” on dreams, & another poem on secrets.

Mark W. O’Brien read poems from his various books he said, the first on hearing voices on the banks of the street in his backyard (too much Irish?), then “And Is It You Are Weary Then?” & “The Sound of Moonlight in Your Hair” (a love poem). Philomena Moriarty said she was reading “old ones,” a poem on transformation “Turning the Corner,” “Adaptation,” & the true-story “Fuck-Me Pumps.”

Linda Sonia Miller’s 3 poems were of a quieter nature, beginning with “Delivery” a meditation in images, then a description of watching a child in a puddle, & “Full Circle” prompted by a painting. Tom Corrado is continuing his random mash-ups he calls “Screen Dumps,” today he read #260 mixing images from movies with Lord Byron, then #259 which, I think, was about Art. Peter Bourdreaux’s untitled piece was a conversation with a woman while doing Xmas cards.

It was time for the featured poet, Perry S. Nicholas, who teaches in Buffalo. He began with 2 poems about his father, “Aura,” recalling his paint & cigarette smell, & “December 28” recalling his father’s death. His mother made an appearance in “Baking Greek Cookies” which he followed up with a poem about a pleasant hotel in Greece. “God Doesn’t Mind” was a whimsical Xmas poem, “Wish by a Waterfall” was the first of a number of love poems to his wife, & he took on Moby Dick in “I’ve Never Seen a White Whale” about writing & art. He described how he had read recently in Woodstock & read 2 poems related to that, “Please Lord Don’t Let me Die in a Hotel in Woodstock” & “The Last Night We Heard Bob Dylan Play.” Confronting his mortality in the poems “Matthew’s Casket” & “Thoughts During an Emergency Room Visit to Buffalo General,” he also talked about his first sight of death & other childhood images in “And I Was Just a Boy.” He ended his reading with some newer, short poems “I Want to Say” (on the Xmas moon), “Rules for a Greek Wake,” & one about his drum “Djembe.”

Nicholas's poems were mostly short, & easily accessible on first-hearing, based on vivid images from life, touched with humor & with that poetic “leaping” that turns stories into poetry. You can find out more about Perry Nicholas on his website.

This series continues each 4th Sunday at 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY (there’s only one), with a featured poet & an open mic.

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